Thursday, December 30, 2010


My paternal grandfather, Albert Frank McComber, “Grandpa,” died on Tuesday.  His funeral is today.Thanksgiving_048

He was such a wonderful man.  I’m missing him so much.  Here’s a little info so you’ll know just how wonderful he really was.  (I’ll be reading this at his funeral this afternoon.)

Albert Frank McComber was born on September 29, 1921.  He entered Heaven’s gates on December 28, 2010.  He was satisfied with long life and lived to be 89 years and three months old.  He was known by many names – Honey, Mac, Mr. Mac, Uncle Al, Brother Albert, Al; his kids called him Dad, but his favorite name was Grandpa.

How do you summarize the life of such a wonderful and amazing man?  With two words – he loved.

First and foremost, he loved God.  He was saved as a young man and lived his life serving the Lord.  He served the local church as Sunday School Teacher, Sunday School Superintendent, Choir Director, Youth Leader, Deacon, choir member and faithful attendee.  He was the first to arrive, unlocking the doors and greeting each person who came to the service.  And he was the last to leave, wishing everyone a wonderful and blessed week, locking the doors behind him.  He was kind and friendly.  He was a wonderful example of a Christian.  In the Gospel of John, chapter 21, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him.  After Peter’s affirmation, Jesus instructed him to “Feed my sheep.”  And like Peter, Grandpa loved Jesus and fed His sheep.

He loved Grandma.  Lela Mildred Jernigan McComber was the great love of his life.  They were married just three months after they met, and their love lasted a lifetime.  They were married for 64 years.  Their love withstood the test of time.  I had the privilege of spending many nights with my grandparents.  And every night, as they were getting into bed, I heard my grandpa say to my grandma, “Goodnight, Baby Doll.  Thank you for marrying me.”

He loved his family.  Albert and Mildred had two children, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.  To Grandpa, there was nothing better than a day spent with his kids.  I can remember his carrying me and both of my brothers around – all at the same time.  I remember climbing up in our tree house to yell hi to him as he gardened in his backyard two doors down.  I remember riding my bicycle to his house and walking my dog with him.  I remember sitting in his lap as he read Bible stories to us just before bed.  He always had ice cream for us.  He told us stories about when we were little, when our dad and Aunt Cheryl were little and when he was little.  He was a great storyteller.

He had four brothers and one sister, lots of brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins.  He loved them all.

He loved his country.  He served in World War II, traveling by ship around the world.  He told stories about that too.  But his favorite thing about that trip was the people he met.  He took care of those who became sick on the ship.  He cared about his army buddies.  He learned the languages of the countries he visited and conversed with the peoples there.  He liked to show off his linguistic skills with us as well.  He loved to ask us to pass him the potatoes in Arabic; and when we learned Spanish in school, he wanted to speak to us only in that language.

He loved being outdoors.  He gardened and picked every weed out of his lawn by hand.  His yard was beautiful, and the grass was great to walk on barefoot.

He loved food.  Grandma loves to cook, and he’s always been her biggest fan.  Grandpa would eat anything.  He would even take wonderful vegetables, like okra and tomatoes and corn and zucchini that he grew in his garden, downtown to an old produce shop where he would trade them for things like turnips and beets – things we kids would never eat.  But I loved being outside in his garden with him.  And I loved going with him to the produce shop.

He loved dogs.  He always had a dog.  He would tell us stories about the dogs he had growing up and the dogs my dad had as a boy.

He loved to sing.  He loved to sing in the choir at church, and he would sing while he was gardening or getting ready to go somewhere or while he did the dishes.  And he always wanted to sing when the family got together.

He loved people.  He never met a stranger.  Within ten minutes of meeting anyone, he had figured out the six degrees of separation that had kept them apart this long.  He knew everyone’s grandparents and parents and kids and cousins and in-laws and neighbors.  He loved to talk, but he also loved to listen.  He knew how to make anyone who met him feel important.  He never forgot a name or a face or their life story.

He loved life.  Grandpa was never one for speed.  He walked slowly.  He drove slowly.  He talked slowly.  He got ready slowly.  He ate slowly.  But his mind was quick.  I believe that he wasn’t in a hurry for life to pass him by.  Rather he moved slowly and took it all in – soaking up every second and enjoying the small things.

Grandpa loved.  He loved life.  He loved each of you.  He loved me.  We didn’t doubt it.  We didn’t question it.  He was affectionate and kind and gentle.  He loved us.  He loved extravagantly.  And we loved him.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Time Travel

I am so far behind in my posting.  This post will have a little bit of everything.  Enjoy!

Thanksgiving dinner (Claire was napping and missed dinner and the picture.)036

And here’s my gorgeous niece, Analise – I love this girl!!021

Analise and Claire love VeggieTales.  Here they are dancing to The Bellybutton Song.  Too cute!!007

Grandma and Adam celebrated their birthdays together.  Gram is 86.  Adam is 37.008

Happy 86th, Gram!011

the girls watching a movie together041

We leased our house in Houston and made our move to Memphis more permanent.  This meant packing everything we decided to keep, selling the rest (and majority of what we owned) and driving to Memphis where we unpacked it all and decorated our apartment.  Pictures of our newly-decorated apartment will follow in a future post.

We took Claire to NYC to see Santa at Macy’s in Herald Square.  It was amazing!  (See previous post for more pics.)043.2

We’ve been celebrating Christmas this week with presents from Grandma Robin and Grandpa D’Wayne and presents from Aunt Jill, Uncle Ryan and the seven Dolan children.  Pictures will follow in a future post.

We also celebrated Christmas with our roommate, Matt, this week.  Claire got several presents, including a stuffed dog from Matt and her stocking.052


Claire was very excited about her new camera.055

Matt and Steve got “Southwest” gloves.  (Apparently these are very handy when checking airplane wheel wells.)065

Everyone really enjoyed their gifts, but I’m sure that my gift was the best.  Steve got me a new iPhone 4.  I’m loving it!

Claire in her Christmas dress just before church on Sunday047

Wednesday afternoon we headed to Tulsa to celebrate Christmas with the McCombers.  We are having so much fun!!  Posts to follow later this week.

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Santa Land!

We flew into NYC on Sunday to take Claire to meet the REAL Santa at Macy’s in Herald Square.  Their Santa Land is AMAZING!!!  The line was not nearly as bad as we anticipated.  It winds around into the back parts of the store, through the human resources area and private areas intended for employees only.  Then you enter the much-anticipated Santa Land.  It begins with a train ride.  You climb aboard a fabulous train that actually rumbles under your feet so that it feels like you’re riding the rail.  Then you arrive at the North Pole.  It’s beautiful!  There’s lots of snow and beautiful trees.  There are dancing bears and bears who play instruments.  There are presents galore.  And then you enter Santa Land.  It’s truly magical as you are greeted by an elf who ushers you into Santa’s cabin.   Santa takes his time and talks with you.  You can take as many pictures with him as you want.  He said that Claire had been a very good girl this year and that he will leave her lots of wonderful surprises on Christmas morning!  Here are some pics and a video.

the beginning of the line – note the elf to my left – the elves are everywhere along the line and are very nice and welcoming002

the line003

the carolers who sang Christmas songs while we waited in line008.2

Claire twirling in line – so excited!

Claire ringing the train’s bell as we climbed aboard012

Claire feeling the train rumble under her feet015

Claire running through Santa Land – so excited!!017





meeting the elf who would take us to Santa032



(We each received one of the Santa Land buttons that the elf is wearing on her hat.)


the PERFECT Christmas card picture043.2

me and my love in Rockefeller Center048

our baby in Rockefeller Center049

all ready for bed in her Christmas jammies after a full day in the City067

It was a perfect day!  What a wonderful memory we made!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


We Nortons have had a lot going on recently.

Steve and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary in Las Vegas.  We had a blast!  Claire stayed with MiMi and PopPop in Tulsa and had a great time.

We then spent Thanksgiving in Tulsa with my family.  What a great day!  That was followed up with some fabulous Black Friday shopping, beginning at 3:30 a.m.  We got some great deals and had a wonderful time.

Then this week we leased our house in Houston.  Our tenants sound perfect – a couple in their 60s.  He is a contractor in the oil business and has been on assignment in Austria for the last year.  They have recently returned to the States and want to be near their children and grandchildren (which all live within a five mile radius of our house).  They fell in love with our house.  I’m so glad to have good renters.

We are headed back to Houston on Friday to start packing up the   remainder of our house.  We’re flying to NYC on Sunday to take Claire to see Santa at Macy’s in Herald Square.  (I can’t wait!!)  Then we’re headed back to Houston to finalize everything and have a huge garage sale.  The following Sunday (the 12th), we will load up a U-Haul and our pickup with the few things we’re keeping and will drive once again to Memphis, officially making this our home.

We’ll spend Christmas in Tulsa with my family and are really looking forward to that.  We have four little girls in our family this year with the additions of Allie and Kenley.  It’s going to be a fun Christmas!!

Steve starts 737 school in January.  He will be in Dallas for two weeks to complete this training.  Hopefully he’ll interview with Southwest in February or shortly thereafter.

Big changes are headed our way.  I keep meaning to blog, but I don’t seem to have the time to sort through all of our pictures.  I’ll keep working on them; but for now, this short note will have to do.

And for those wondering about the latest on Claire, she is 33” tall and weighs 22 lbs.  She is an absolute doll and such a joy!  She’s talking a lot more.  Now when you ask her how old she is, she will hold up one finger and scream “one!”  Then she giggles.  She loves to dance and loves to sing.  She’s very friendly and loves people.  She loves babies and animals, especially dogs.  She’s absolute perfection in my book!

It’s bedtime once again.  More as soon as I can find time to post.  So for now, nighty-night.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vegas, Baby!

This week Steve and I took our first vacation without Claire.  She stayed at MiMi and PopPop’s this week while Steve and I headed to Vegas.  (I must admit to shedding a few tears at the airport and again aboard the plane.  I’ve never been apart from her for more than a couple of hours at a time.  But I finally managed to get my emotions under control and have immensely enjoyed my vacation!)  But I can’t wait to get back to Claire later today!

Claire is having a wonderful time.  We’ve talked to her on the phone several times, and she’s having a blast with MiMi and PopPop.  She even got to spend the day with Analise yesterday.  Sounds like fun!

They say “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”  In keeping with that, this post will be short and to the point without any details that would give too much away.

We’ve had a great time here in Vegas.  We’ve eaten a little (or a lot).  We signed up for the all-day buffet.  Steven loved it!003

We’ve played some games.  We won some.  We lost some.  We’re going home happy.004

We had a great time just hanging out as husband and wife.005

Just for fun:  Steve highlighting some of the unique architecture of Las Vegas.006

It’s been a wonderful vacation!  Thank you, Steve, for planning this trip for our anniversary.  The past six years have been wonderful wedded bliss.  I love you so very much!  Thank you for marrying me!  Happy Anniversary!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ready for Church

We took these this morning before we left for church.  She’s just too cute!003


Total sweetness!

Friday, November 12, 2010

I love the zoo!

Steve took off early today.  Claire and I picked him up and took him to the zoo.  It was a perfect afternoon.017

I love the zoo.  I love fall.  I love fall at the zoo.032 And I love spending a fall afternoon with my hubby and baby at the zoo!030

Claire pet a cow today.026

Claire loved the panda.039

We had a great time today and enjoyed the fall weather.

The zoo is preparing for their zoolightful celebration which begins next week.  We will post some pictures of that soon.

My Monkey Loves Bananas!



I LOVE this girl!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sea World and Packing

MiMi and PopPop met us in Houston on Thursday to help us pack up the house.  We accomplished a lot and celebrated with a trip to Sea World.

Prior to Sea World, we stopped for lunch at Taco Bueno.  Yummy!004

Claire checking out the fish in the coral reef015

Sea World has a great playground.  Claire, of course, wanted to slide.  This slide was very big and very fast.  Claire had to slide on it many times.  “Whee!”016

Steve rode Journey to Atlantis017



my lovelies031

Watching a show at Sea World with PopPop and MiMi053


It was a perfect day!072

We grabbed dinner to go and ate in the car on the way home.  Claire fell asleep right in the middle of dinner.  She had a really big day.080

Current pics of the house after a weekend of packing.

the gallery without the family pictures087

Claire’s room without her monogram and most of her things.  (I admit to shedding a few tears while removing her monogram and packing things up in here.)082

All of the pictures have been taken down.  The bric-a-brac has been packed.  And the Fostoria has been packed.092



The Wilton Armetale has been packed, along with the apothecary jars.096

the guest room is no longer welcoming but is full of boxes100


We accomplished a lot in a very short period of time.  Thanks, MiMi and PopPop for coming down to help us pack it up.  We had a great time with you!